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Robert L. Bracklow (1849 - 1919) Working at the same time as Eugene Atget – though on the other side of the Atlantic – Robert Bracklow was an amateur chronicler of New York City whose talents are now beginning to garner the attention they deserve. An active and devoted member of the Camera Club during Alfred Steiglitz’s tenure, Bracklow chose, and returned to, spot after spot in Gotham’s ever-changing, turn-of-the-century terrain, capturing them with both clarity of focus and a sense of 19th-century romance. Edward Steichen said Bracklow “displayed a gentle feeling for beauty of line, a good eye for composition, and a drive for perfection.” And more recently, in 1984, Andy Grundberg of the New York Times said of Bracklow’s images: “They depict the look of New York City at an important historical turning point – one now charged not only with nostalgia, but also with a certain relevance to our own rapidly changing, more anxious age.”
All the photographs are on original card mounts, the photos themselves in dimensions from 4.5 x 3.25” to 7.5 x 4.25”. Most of the mounts bear what is most likely the artist’s own handwriting documenting the scene (“Thirteen trees planted by Alexander Hamilton, one for each of the original states”) as well as the artist’s stamp on the verso, “Glimpses through the Camera/Robert L. Bracklow, New York.”
[Contributed by the Alan Klotz Gallery, October 2007]